Life-Changing Experience Inspires Endowed Camp Scholarship

When Gaye Gronlund and Bruce Corner sent their son, Colin Corner (IAC 97-98, IAA 98-99), to Interlochen Arts Camp in 1997, they thought it would be a nice summer experience to supplement the bass instruction he was receiving at home in Indianapolis. After two weeks, Colin phoned his parents and said, “Everyone here is just like me.” From that moment on Gaye and Bruce knew that Interlochen would be much more than they expected.

“It changed his life and, therefore, ours,” Gaye says, explaining their family’s love for Interlochen. Colin, she says, found himself at Interlochen. He met other teenagers who shared his love of music. He gained focus and learned how to practice. And by the end of that summer, he knew that he wanted to be a professional musician. Colin spent another summer at Camp, followed by his senior year at Interlochen Arts Academy.

Once Bruce and Gaye saw the impact that Interlochen had on Colin, they knew they wanted to explore ways to give back. Early on, they asked Camp bass instructors Larry Hurst and Jack Budrow how they might support the bass program. Colin had been recognized as the most improved double bass player at Camp his first summer, so they came up with the idea to provide a plaque that would list the names of the recipients of the honor to go along with the small monetary award given by the bass faculty. Students and visitors on campus today see the names of the campers who have been recognized with the now-named Colin Corner Double Bass Award on display in the Giddings Concourse.

Then in March 2007, they established the Lawrence Hurst Double Bass Endowed Camp Scholarship to help a double bassist attend camp each summer. They named the scholarship in honor of long-time faculty member Larry Hurst, Colin’s bass instructor both at Interlochen Arts Camp and Indiana University.

“Larry is one of the world’s greatest pedagogues, and one of the great assets of Interlochen Arts Camp,” says Gaye. Indeed, Larry has had tremendous influence on double bassists for the past five decades, teaching at Interlochen since 1967 as well as at Indiana University and the University of Michigan, with former students performing in orchestras all over the world. “We wanted to honor that and recognize his achievements,” Gaye says of their decision to name the scholarship after Larry. “We wanted to make sure our family showed our gratitude.”

Now living out that dream that started at Interlochen, Colin is principal bass with the Rochester Philharmonic and performs with several jazz groups. He often makes trips back to Interlochen to conduct master classes or just to spend time with bass students who recognize his name from the plaque in the concourse.

Gaye, an early childhood education consultant, and Bruce, a marketing research consultant, split their time between Tucson, Arizona, and their house near Interlochen on Duck Lake. While in Michigan, they spend hours on campus, enjoying concerts and even attending some of Interlochen’s College of Creative Arts adult programs. They love being able to take in the “delicious cacophony” of Interlochen, wandering past the practice huts and seeing so much dedication in one spot. No doubt their family has been changed by Interlochen, but their reason for supporting Interlochen goes beyond their own personal experience. “We know the effect it has on so many children’s lives,” says Gaye, “building the arts in our country and around the world.”